The Welsh Government has announced that today will see the First Minister sign a new declaration that is committing to the radical reform of care services for children and young people.
A wide range of changes to the current care system are to be implemented, with the final goal being to put the voice of children and young people in the very centre of transformations to children’s services. This will be done through a ‘children first’ approach to everything that is being done, ensuring that everything possible is done to ensure that children and families are able to stay together through the process. One key aspect of keeping families together is early help and support services that come when parents and children need them.
A group of young ambassadors from Voices from Care Cymru developed the declaration alongside Welsh Ministers. The development comes following the first ever summit for children and young people in care in Wales. Held last year, the summit saw forty young leaders with care experience meet with the First Minister, Ministers for Education and Social Justice, and the Deputy Ministers for Social Services, Mental Health and Well Being.
Mark Drakeford, First Minister, said:
“This declaration is a true collaboration between children and young people and the Welsh Government.
“We have committed to radical reform of care services for children and young people and this declaration will provide the blueprint for that work.
“We have listened to what the young ambassadors have told us about their experiences and that of other care-experienced children and young people.
“Together we have developed this vision, which I am proud to put my name to as the First Minister of Wales.”
As well as keeping families together and reducing the number of children that are entering the care system, the declaration is aiming to benefit those who are already in care by keeping them close to home so that they can remain a part of the community.
Deputy Minister for Social Services, Julie Morgan, said:
“We know that many children and young people have positive experiences in the care system and do well in life.
“But far too many care-experienced children and young people do not have their rights respected and their needs met.
“I want to see care-experienced children and young people thrive and grow, cared for and supported, and go on to achieve their full potential.
“We are committed to achieve that and have listened to the children and young people to understand how we can do it. This declaration is the first step to delivering that ambition.”